Beauty

Going Grey

I think I had one or two grey hairs in high school, but they started multiplying in college. Not a ton but five strands… which turned into about ten. They never really bothered me but one time a guy I was seeing offered to pluck them out (I was 21 and not the most secure) and I let him. Then I started systematically plucking them out when they’d pop up until it was clear that they were only growing in one area that I knew I’d end up with a bald spot if I plucked them all.

I gave up after that and because of the way I parted my hair, they didn’t draw that much attention. However, last year I was training my hair to part the other way and that kind of devolved into a middle part. I think the middle part is way more flattering for my head shape (and hides the fact that I’m definitely experiencing hair loss at my temples 🤷🏻‍♀️) but my grey hair is much more prominently displayed.

My hair is obviously super dark and the grey hair truly stands out against it. (No confusing it for a sun-bleached highlight like blonde hair) and it is only growing from about a one and half inch strip right down the middle of my scalp.

Because it’s more noticeable now, I end up answering a lot of questions about why I don’t dye my hair. I don’t mind, but my response is super simple: I like it! Sometimes I think people expect me to mention the patriarch or have some sort of stance against hair dye in general. I love the way grey hair looks on men and women. I love that mine is growing in (what I think is) a striking way.

I still blow dry my hair straight and curl it with a wand. I fill in my eyebrows, I bleach my mustache, I pluck/shave/laser body hairs. So I’m far from completely embracing natural hair.

I just like how my grey hair looks! I do wish it was some eloquent response. Saying I like the grey usually leads to more confusion because how could a woman love grey hair? Last fall I went to a conference for women owned small businesses and Stacy London was a keynote speaker. I don’t know if it was because it was in NYC or if Stacy fans were filling the audience but so many women (like out of 300, at least 50) had grey hair of some kind. It was one of the most empowering things.

Also, I just listened to a podcast about going grey and while I think they touch on some of the inequality women face with beauty standards (like saying if you do go grey you have to step up your wardrobe game in the professional world), it was fascinating. Definitely recommend giving it a listen if you’ve been on the fence about going grey!

If you need even more inspiration, love @grombre on Instagram. They feature so many women with all kinds of grey hair. From growing out grey, to fully grey, to in-between grey. Women of all ages, all ethnicities and all hair types are featured and I honestly think everyone looks so beautiful. And my ultimate girl crush, Claire Saffitz, has the best streak in the game.

If nothing else, I hope women don’t feel like they have to dye your hair. You can if you want, but no one should feel like they have to do it.

Would you consider going grey? Did you decide to go grey?

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78 Comments

Quincy

I see so many women’s gray hair growing in with the quarantine and I love it! Like, why don’t more people embrace the gray?! There’s so much stigma around it but man. I’m here for it.

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Paisleigh Telford

I love that you can keep what you like without making it some big power stance or anything. we’re all comfortable with certain parts of our bodies and not comfortable with others. More people need to adapt the healthy mindset of doing the maintenance that makes you feel good (not that makes you more insecure about needing the maintenance in the first place) and leaning into the quirky parts of our bodies that make us a little different. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Maria Mumford

While in quarantine I am embracing going grey gracefully an ideal time .its actually growing on me & happy with the colour so will continue to do so

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Gaby

I’m 42 and going grey. My mom made a comment once about how I have tinsel. I love that! Tinsel! She’s 77 and still dyes her hair. She thought about growing out her natural color during the pandemic, but changed her mind saying she doesn’t want to look like a hag. It makes me sad to know she thinks that way. I also shave and laser, but feel we should be allowed to age. Also, I’d rather not be exposed to so many chemicals or spend all the money on upkeep!

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Alexis

I’m 38 and started greying in college. I’ve never dyed my hair and never plan to. I don’t see the point. My mom and her dad both greyed early so I always knew it was my lot in life. It’s who I am! Why cover up who I am?! Embrace who you are!

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Joy

I started going grey in my 20s and dyed up until about age 48, and I regret it! DON’T dye your hair… enjoy the grey! I am happier and my hair has never looked better or been healthier, and I have more money for shopping ;).

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Heather

I’m 31 now, but I think I’ve had greys since my teens. They’re definitely multiplying now – they’re not in any particular place, just spread all over in my hair. I also don’t mind! Honestly, people still mistake me for a child sometimes, so I figure the greys can only help people realize I’m an adult, ha!

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Lucy

I’m 25, and work as a software engineer where gray hairs are considered a plus because you must know what you’re talking about!! I love the look of my grays too, and can’t wait to have more! Plus, my hair is really dark and I can’t wait until it’s all gray so I can dye it fun colors (like pink) without bleach

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Melanie

My husband has been going gray since high school and has a full head of salt and pepper hair (think Clooney). It’s how I’ve always known him and it fits him, but it does seem to confuse other people… someone asked if he was going to dye it before our wedding! Like how silly, it’s part of who he is and he embraces it.

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Alice

I finally decided to take the plunge and let my greys grow out! I found my first one when I was 16, and not that I’m 31 they’re really filling in. My mom went grey young as well and never dyed it—her hair is gorgeous! I dyed my hair for the final time right before my wedding last year, but now I’ve been transitioning to highlights to blend they greys and my naturally dark hair as it grows out.

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Kathy Greenlay

I’m doing the same thing and am very happy with the compromise. Took some time to adjust to my new image but I am comfortable with my lighter coloring now.

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Mia

Yes!! I always say that I love my grays. It’s all relative and as long as each of us feel confident that’s what matters. No one should ever judge another woman for how she wants to display her appearance to the world. 🙂

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Brittni S.

I love this. I had a teacher in elementary school who had the most striking white hair, which she embraced when she was in her 20s. And one in high school who had gorgeous gray hair with a bright white strip around her face. I always remember them as so beautiful, and while their hair was gorgeous, I think it had so much more to do with their confidence. I’m 31 and have more grays coming in – and while sometimes I still dye my hair for an overall color change – I kind of love it. I feel like I earned these, like I’m living a life full of love and adventure and memories, instead of just worrying about this race against the clock (that unfortunately women feel far more than men for so many reasons). Your grays are beautiful, keeping embracing what makes you feel like yourself!

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Liz

I started getting some crazy textured grey hairs in my late twenties when I was under terrible stress dealing with infertility. I plucked them aggressively and resented them greatly! Now I’m 33 with two beautiful children and I don’t mind seeing they greys. They remind me of a dark time that I survived. And I’m proud of them.

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Emily

Hi Carly! I love this post. You are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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Meredith

I love this! I love your greys but I love the reason why the most! So simple. I have been highlighting my hair since I was 12 (Texas girl here 😂) and this whole pandemic has kept me away from my stylist for the longest since then. And I’m kind of loving my hair as it grows in. Your reason of just loving your grey is inspiring me to love my natural dirty blonde and stop the highlights!

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TC

My mom found my first gray hair when I was 11! So gray hair isn’t that foreign to me. I’ve had a small gray streak in my bangs since college that I LOVE and it’s really coming to fruition this year. I just dyed my hair for the first time at 31 (just balayage!) and I didn’t let them touch my bangs because I wanted to keep my gray streak. I love my sparkles, and I love that you do, too!

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Kelly

Hell no I will dye my hair until the day I die. Side note a center part does not look nearly as good on you as the side part did. Just so you know

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Hannah

No one asked you. Go away and your weirdly strong opinions on Carly’s part with you.

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McKeila

Oooof girl, can you chill? Projecting your insecurities onto others isn’t cute. Let Carly live.

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Rachel

Just so YOU know, comments like yours are uncalled for, unproductive, and unkind. Please concern yourself with YOURSELF, and if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. With all that is going on in the world today, no one needs more rudeness. Be well and be kind.

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Jen

Hi Kelly, Your first sentence was funny. And the rest of what you added was truly mean. Since you obviously seem to have have knowledge about what someone else’s hair should look like, could you please now share your own blog link to show how to do it better?

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Erin

Looks great!😊😊 My husband has been graying since he was in middle school. At 30 he’s full white now!

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Erin

I have been going grey since I was 26 and I am now 41. I have dyed my hair (mostly myself) since that time – I’m also a dark brunette. During this quarantine, I have decided to get it go and see what happens. So far, I’m liking it. I also follow @grombre and it’s very inspiring! We’ll see if I let it stick!!

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Rosa

Love this post Carly! And while I applaud your decision to go naturally grey I’m still on the fence about it. Like many other women my age (50) the grey are popping up everywhere. I didn’t start to show grays till about 5 years ago and I have a major streak on my frontal left. Whenever I think ok, I’ll let it grow out I revert back to coloring, which makes the streak look bad because it doesn’t cover it well. Anyway, I really struggle with it and I’m hoping to find a good hairdresser after this pandemic is over to guide me into slowly letting the grey take over… Thanks for the good read!
-Rosa

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Evelina

Do whatever makes you happy! While I do dye my grays, I’ve never worn make-up. I don’t even own a tube of lipstick. It’s just something I never felt I wanted to do and now I’m so glad – I’m 51 – my life seems so easy compared to all of the articles I just pass over about make-up – how to’s, what to buy, etc. The response I always get from people is “you don’t even need it” I feel like I’ve saved myself a fortune! You’re beautiful, Carly. Just do what you want to do!

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Kelly Dellinger

I’m with you — I just LOVE grey hair! My mom just turned 60 and she only has a few grey hairs (which of course are only visible because of quarantine) but I wish I could go fully grey and not have to dye my hair blonde anymore! I would totally do a cool grey/silver over my naturally light brown color (that I’ve dyed a cool blonde for the last 11 years). I think it’s particularly stunning on women with brown eyes. With the nation’s current stay-at-home order, I’ve been surprised to see so many women hide their greys!!! I’m glad this is getting people more comfortable growing out their natural color. (I realize I’m totally kind of hypocritical since I refuse to embrace my natural color but here we are. Haha.)

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Isel

I loved your response: because you like it 🙂 I also have very dark black hair and have started to get a lot of gray hairs. And at first some people would make comments about it, saying that I had to color it, but I have begun to really like them. My hair is naturally curly and I love seeing the black and gray curls. Thanks for Sharing this post 💗

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Michelle

I love this. I have recently been getting more grays and as I was talking about it with my husband, my daughter (16) asked why we were even talking about it. She said that it’s not a big deal and nowadays only “old people” like grandma dye their hair.

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Jenny

Thank you! I’m letting my grays come in too (I’m 28) and love the way they look! I also don’t like the texture my hair becomes when I dye it, so I decided to embrace the grays and I think it’s so distinguished looking

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Nele

For me it’s the exact same, I’m 20 now but have been getting greys for a good 4 years now. I also have super dark hair. For me they’re all around, so if I wear my hair half up, longer ones peek out.
But I do also have them in two streaks on either side just where I part my hair, so they are kind of noticeable.
My mum was just the same and I’ll probably be fully grey by the time I’m in my 30s.
I don’t mind for the same reason you don’t: no big statement, I just think they look cool.
Maybe I’ll dye them at some point, but for now I think they are just fine the way they are!

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Becca

I feel similarly. My hair is the the same shade as yours, so the greys really pop against my dark, dark brown hair. My mom, whose hair is the same deep brown as mine, never dyed her hair, so the greys came in slowly over time. She was lucky though—I don’t remember noticing any greys until she hit her 50s. For me, I started noticing grey hairs in my mid-20s, and now they are quite prominent on one side as I’m entering my thirties. Like you, I’ve never dyed my hair, and I don’t plan to. The financial cost and commitment of hair dye is one step too far for me, and I don’t want to lose the natural shine that my dark hair has always had. For me, that outweighs the gradual appearance of grey.

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yancey williams

I ditched the dye, in my 30’s. I am now in my 50’s and almost completely gray. While I can’t claim to receive many compliments, in person, I get tons of compliments whenever I post a photo on IG! Like you, Carly, the reason I remain gray is because I love it!

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Ellen

I love this so much! My mom went grey relatively young, so that will probably happen to me too (I’m only 25 right now). You’ve inspired me to let it happen naturally and embrace it! Your hair is beautiful!

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May

I’m 23 and my hair is starting to do this in exactly the same place! I’m trying to grow my natural colour out and it is definitely making me want to stick a box dye on so this was a very refreshing read to make me persevere!

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Michelle

First, this photo of you is stunning. Second, I have completely transitioned to grey, and I LOVE it! There are so many misconceptions about grey hair: grows in wiry and unruly, makes your face look washed out, ages you. None of this is true, and it kept me from going grey younger (which I now wish I did). Kudos to you for embracing what is natural and beautiful! Love this post.

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Amanda

Hey! I know exactly what you are going through! I am also starting to go gray near my part. I have dark brown hair so it is easy to see my gray hair. People have commented on it and it used to bother me but not anymore. I have embraced the grays! I think of it as positive and I can have much worse ailments than going gray at 30.

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Marina

Reading these comments made me so emotional! I’m turning 30 this year and have had greys coming in for the last 10 years, and a lot especially in the past year. I’ve had friends make fun of it so seeing so many people share their stories makes me feel so much better. I’m letting mine grow in, it’s just easier and I don’t mind how they look! Thanks for writing this post.

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Kelly Brophy

I think it’s great you are letting it go grey. It looks stunning. Any recommendations on what to use to tame them? Mine just like to stick out everywhere!

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Lillian

Major props for addressing this and staying strong with the grey! I haven’t started to grey much but already know I don’t want the cost and maintenance of dying. I wish more people embraced it, because I agree it looks good and removes the weird stigma!

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McKenna

Love this post. I think the grey hair looks great on you. I have never dyed my hair before, but my hair is also on the lighter side so I think that’s why I can’t tell if I’m getting greys. I remember when I was younger I would always see this older women and her whole head was grey, I thought she looked so chic!

https://petuniaspicks.com/

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Jill

I love this post! Thank you for sharing! It is a refreshing perspective. I am 31 and haven’t dyed my hair for more then 8 years. Now with a couple of grays coming in, I have given it more thought recently and have considered dying it. But I always felt freed and empowered by just letting it be. Coloring it for me always felt like a dreaded routine and chore. I may change my mind in the future, but I am planning on letting it go naturally gray. It both excites and terrifies me! lol

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Carole

My mom is a silve fox and has been since 35, and Grey looks gorgeous on her!! I have come to accept genetics will give me some greys, and I found my first one my first week of college. They are now growing in similarity to yours, and I have had to stop people from plucking them! A friend recently was surprised when I said I wouldn’t dye them, but I’m with you, I love the grey and am looking forward to my silver fox days 🤍

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Andrea

I loved this post! I for one love your grey streak. I’ve always loved Stacy London’s streak too. I have been noticing grey hairs popping up on my head but unfortunately for me they are all over – nothing like the cool streak you have going on. I’m glad to see you are embracing it!

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Grace

I’m 24 with dark hair and greys in a really similar place to you – I actually found your blog/insta because every time I would say I didn’t like my greys in college, my best friend would say “I think they’re cool they’re just like Carly, you should check her out!” xx

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Meredith

Love the grey! Also Claire Saffritz makes me pray that my grey becomes a very cool streak!

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Angela

Sponsors will probably begin asking you to die your hair since you have a young audience.

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Carly T Young

Stunning as always. Would love to hear more about your experience with laser-ing!? Thank you, Carly!

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carly

I did one session in February and then… everything shut down! So I can’t say much about it just yet 😂

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Meghan R

I love this, Carly! I always think to myself how much I admire you for embracing the grey and think you wear it so well! I got my first grey hair in junior high and they have been multiplying since then. I’ve gone back and forth between having highlights off and on and even colored my hair for awhile. Recently, though, I decided I really like the grey – it adds so much uniqueness to my hair and I have so much confidence with it now that I used to never have. Low key always loved Stacey London’s grey streak, too! Thanks for sharing!

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Rachel

I too am experiencing hair loss at my temples. I think mine is stress related, but the loss of hair is only seeming to add an additional stressor. How have you handled that loss? Are there any products that you have found that help?

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Cyntiha

Right now (no gey) I think I would! I love the contrast of grey against your dark brown almost black hair. My hair is a lighter brown so I don’t think it would look as striking. However I don’t currently dye my hair and I don’t see myself starting. It is an extra expense and takes a lot of time for salon visits.

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Alex

I have dark hair too, and while I’m only still in my mid-twenties, I have a few gray hairs. I get really excited every time a new one comes in, and I have always wanted salt and pepper hair. I may use a purple toning gloss to keep them silvery and not yellow, but I will never dye over them!

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Marietta Winchester

I have been following you Carly for some time and love your blog. I am 73 yr old ‘hate gray hair’ and now in this extended Illinois Covid guidelines, started loving my gray hair! So, embrace your beautiful ‘here and there’ gray strands, you look beautiful! BTW, loved your Mike’s veggie soup – he definitelly is a keeper!

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MC

I like the way your grey hair grows in too! I think it’s a fun streak and unique. I keep finding more grey hairs pop up and when I want to dye my hair, I dye it. But not for the greys, because I just feel like dying it that day! We always seem to need a reason behind what we do with our bodies but “because I want to!” Or “because I like it!” Never feels good enough! I love that you embrace your hair but more importantly that it’s not for any other reason than you want to.

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Jesse

Love this! You are beautiful! My hair, bc of the reddish tint, is coming in white— sold white strands popping up all the time! My Mom has a beautiful white streak and my older sister is getting it too! I love theirs!

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Chrissy Stanley

I think you are so beautiful as you are and continue to be ❤️
Chrissy

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June

Thank you, Carly. I think I am one of those people who asked about your grey hair on IG because I am curious, so I’ve clicked this link so hard hahah..

Unlike yours, my grey hair grow in places that aren’t so flattering to me. Moreover, I’m a Muslim so many of my friends and colleagues are wearing hijab. Sometimes people said “you have a lot of grey hair, sister.” and I felt like what they say was “why don’t you cover your hair?” which is most possibly (definitely) stemmed from my insecurities. I will still dye my hair I think, but it’s great to know that are people like you (as seen from the comments section) — and I support you. Thank you for writing this post 🙂

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Nicole

I’ve been dying my hair since I was a teenager. I always liked the richness of the color I could dye it over my natural hair color which is a mousey brown. Then recently I was diagnosed with some autoimmune diseases. One of the things I discovered was that my body can’t purge heavy metals because of a genetic defect… and one of the heavy metalsnI am storing is cobalt, which comes from brown hair dye. That was a huge wakeup call for me — that I was contributing to my own sickness — and I made the decision to stop dyeing my hair (and also address the use of toxic elements elsewhere in my life) It has been interesting to see it grow in — I also part my hair in the middle and definitely have a streak, but also a lot of other gray hair. I do believe there is a double standard; men look distinguished while women are told they look old. However, that is not the reason for my stopping the dye.

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Phyllis

I love your hair and love your confidence about it! After coloring my gray for years, your beautiful hair and confidence is actually inspiring me to finally let my “gray have its way”!

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Ashley Moran

I decided to let my gray come through last year at age 34. I feel like I have a lot but. It as much as some women. This month marks one year since I’ve colored my hair! I really do like my grays!

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Katie McCarty

OMG, I have so many grey hairs now and so does my sister. I seriously don’t care but other people seem to really care! Thanks for that Insta. I like it! And just sent it to a friend who was like WHAT are you gonna do about your greys. I said NOTHING! ha.

Katie

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Cole

Lovely comments. I was panicked about the rate my roots/grays were coming in when it hit me…the time, exorbitant cost, and what my Mom calls ‘mental tax’ (rushing to make appointments, trying to track down out-of-stock purple shampoos…) was not worth it. I am happily seeing my 32-year-old head of hair. And my fiance likes the new color/confidence on me!

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Sarah

I’m 39 and have been starting to go grey in the past few years. I’m leaving as-is. I find that as a female physician, it gives me more credibility. #silverlining #punintended

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Mary

Beautiful post. My sister and I (31 and 30) joke about how excited we are to go grey, yet we haven’t seen a single grey hair yet. You look stunning and powerful. Thank you for this post.

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Holly

Good for you for embracing the greys! I’m in my late 30’s and about 20% grey by now… I wouldn’t mind it so much if a lot the grey didn’t stand straight up and stick out, haha! For the most part it’s manageable but there are some wild ones in there!

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Ernest

There is a level of sophistication that I’ve always noticed when spotting people with greys – particularly women. When worn accordingly, I feel it absolutely heightens sex appeal as opposed to going with dyes. I’m kissing 40 with ONLY a couple of greys (maybe 1 or 2 in my beard alone) and would you believe how annoyed I am by that? I want more! I’m ready to embrace that age in style, yet my genes haven’t cooperated just yet. I can understand the insecurities of not wanting to “look old,” but that perception needs to absolutely change.

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K

My hair is naturally a quite light ashy blonde, and I’m reasonably sure I’ve had grey hairs in there since i was about 20 but its almost impossible for me to tell – the main difference is they seem to be a bit thicker and more wiry than my usual hair texture. I love the look of grey hair, but I do dye my hair – mainly because I get bored and go random bright colours (pink, purple, rainbow under, red). I have dyed my hair a silvery mid-grey and absolutely loved it though!

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Tara

I know I am seriously late to the party here, but I just wanted to pop on & thank you for inspiring me to accept my greys after many years of covering them up with toxic hair dye. I’ve even had allergic reactions to different dyes, but found one that caused minimal discomfort & continued to dye! Like you, I have dark brown hair & since my “greys” are actually white, they really stand out. But between the quarantine & stumbling upon your Instagram & blog, I have been inspired to let them grow in. And amazingly enough, I actually like them now! But I definitely don’t think I would feel this way if it wasn’t for you! So, thank you so much!!

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Anonymous

I started getting grays after the birth of my first (age 29). I’ve been coloring it ever since (I’m 46 now). Heck no will I embrace my gray and let my hair revert to its natural color. Foremost, the gray is a different texture so it looks odd to me but I also feel like it looks unkempt and/or that I’ve neglected to get my rear
to the salon. It’s one thing I can control when it comes to the aging process so I opt to color it. Plus no one has ever complimented me on the gray but many have complimented my salon color. Perhaps it’s a regional thing, too? I live in Fairfield County, CT where almost no one embraces their natural gray if under the age of 75.

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Emma

No greys here (my mom is nearly 70 and also has no greys, and my dad was 60 before any grey, so who knows). But I’d love to know more about your hair loss. My hair has thinned and thickened since I was a teenager, but now I feel like the thickening days are over. And the temples are the worst. Trying hard to come to terms with it.

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